Is CBD Oil Legal in Massachusetts?

  1. Massachusetts Cannabis
  2. Massachusetts CBD

What is CBD?

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are the active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant that give it numerous properties. There are over 80 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, with CBD and THC (Delta 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) being the most prominent ones. THC is the most active cannabinoid compound and causes the euphoric sensations experienced by consumers of marijuana. It is also believed to possess therapeutic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. CBD is the second-most active cannabinoid in the cannabis plant; while it possesses most of the therapeutic properties of THC, it causes no psychoactive reactions in users. CBD can also be processed from industrial hemp plants and produced in a laboratory.

CBD is recommended as an alternative treatment for several chronic medical conditions, their symptoms, or their treatments. Several states permit patients who have not responded to conventional medications to use CBD as a treatment under the recommendation of their physician. CBD products include medications (capsules, tinctures, and pills), lotions, creams, oils, and consumables. Medical conditions that can be treated or managed with CBD include intractable epilepsy and other seizure disorders, anxiety disorders, Lou Gehrig's Disease, MS, and terminal illnesses.

Congress removed hemp from the schedule of controlled substances in 2018 when the Hemp Farming Act was enacted into law. The Hemp Act legalizes the cultivation, processing, and distribution of hemp products across the United States. It also empowers states to regulate, control, and even prohibit these processes in their jurisdictions. Perhaps most importantly, the Act conclusively distinguished between hemp and marijuana in the United States. As both plants are of the same species, they possess similar characteristics and the same general chemical compounds. Cannabis plants that contain over 0.3% THC content by weight are referred to as marijuana and are illegal under federal law. Cannabis plants that contain 0.3% or less THC content by weight are referred to as hemp and are legal in the United States.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Massachusetts?

CBD oil is legal in Massachusetts. Following the enactment of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, the Massachusetts Legislature promulgated rules for the legal production and distribution of hemp in the state. The Massachusetts Industrial Hemp Program is the state hemp program and is overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). Hemp-derived CBD oil, which refers to CBD oil with 0.3% THC content or less, is legal in the state.

Massachusetts has a medical marijuana program that has existed since 2012 and a recreational marijuana program since 2016. As such, marijuana and products derived from it are legal in Massachusetts for both recreational and medicinal purposes. This includes CBD oils that contain more than 0.3% THC content by weight. Under the laws establishing the medical marijuana program, marijuana and products derived from marijuana were legalized for medical use by patients with specific medical conditions. Recreational marijuana laws legalized marijuana, and products derived from it, for adults aged 21 years and above in the state. As such, CBD oil derived from marijuana is also legal in Massachusetts, under the state's marijuana laws. Marijuana in Massachusetts is regulated by the Cannabis Control Commission.

What are Massachusetts CBD Laws in 2022?

The cultivation and production of hemp were legalized nationwide in 2018 when Congress enacted the Hemp Farming Act. This essentially legalized the processing of products derived from cannabis plants that contained no more than 0.3% THC content by weight, such as oils, medication, and consumables. Hemp and products derived from hemp are widely available in Massachusetts and across the United States.

In accordance with the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, Massachusetts enacted rules to authorize and regulate the cultivation and production of hemp. M.G.L.c 128.118 institutes the conditions wherein industrial hemp may be cultivated, harvested, processed, and retailed in the state. The Massachusetts Industrial Hemp Program was established as the state program, with administrative oversight handled by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). The rules empowered the MDAR to handle the registration and licensing of hemp producers and processors in the state.

Marijuana is legal in Massachusetts for both medical and recreational purposes. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2012 when voters in the state supported the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative. Recreational marijuana became legal in the state in 2016 when voters approved the Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative. As such, CBD derived from marijuana is legal and widely available in Massachusetts. Marijuana is defined as cannabis plants wherein the THC content by weight surpasses 0.3%, and is a controlled substance under federal law.

What are Massachusetts CBD Possession Limits?

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 does not recommend any limits on the amount of hemp that can be cultivated or produced by any individual. Also, Massachusetts General Law does not set any restrictions on the quantity of hemp that can be produced or processed in the state. As such, there are no statutory limitations regarding the possession of CBD and CBD products in Massachusetts.

Adult-use marijuana legislation places limitations on the amount of marijuana an individual can possess and this includes products derived from marijuana such as concentrates. However, there is no specific mention of possession limits for marijuana-derived CBD in Massachusetts adult-use marijuana law statutes.

Can Doctors Prescribe CBD Oil in Massachusetts?

Medical marijuana laws in Massachusetts require that eligible patients receive certifications from their healthcare providers to register for the Medical Use of Marijuana Program. Registered participants in the program can use marijuana or marijuana products as a treatment for the following debilitating medical conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Any other medical condition considered debilitating by the patient's healthcare provider

Patients who intend to use CBD for medical purposes, as part of the Medical Use of Marijuana Program, require recommendations from healthcare providers. A healthcare provider may be a doctor or advanced practice registered nurse licensed in Massachusetts. However, it is not mandatory that a user obtain a healthcare provider's certification to use CBD, as marijuana and marijuana products are available recreationally. Also, CBD derived from hemp is legal nationwide and readily available without a doctor's recommendation.

What are the Licensing Requirements for CBD in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts Industrial Hemp Program manages the licensing of hemp businesses and facilities in the state. The Program also enforces the regulations and laws on industrial hemp production and sales. The Program is supervised by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources; also, the regulatory body that licenses hemp businesses and inspects and certifies their facilities. The Program also issues certifications to verify the THC levels in hemp sales are less than 0.3%; the legal limit for hemp and hemp products. It engages in educational and outreach programs on the hemp industry aimed at participants in the program and the general public.

The Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) issues three types of hemp licenses in Massachusetts:

PRODUCER: A producer or grower is a person or entity that cultivates the hemp crop. To receive a producer license, the applicant must complete and submit an application form to the MDAR. Information on the program requirements, considerations, and risks is available in the 2018 Massachusetts Hemp Program Policy for Producers. Applicants must provide information in their applications that include;

  • Full name and address of the applicant
  • Name and address of grow operation
  • GPS coordinates and a map of the grow area.
  • Property Owner Consent Statement, if the property is not owned by the applicant
  • If the grow area is outdoors, the area (in acres) of the field; if the grow area is indoors, the approximate dimensions in square feet of the grow area.
  • Written consent for the MDAR to conduct inspections, samplings, and testings in accordance with the hemp laws.

Applicants are required to include a criminal history report on each individual applicant or key participant in the hemp producer operation in their applications. There is a $100 application fee (check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) that must be sent with the application. Completed applications and the application fee should be mailed to:

ATTN: Industrial Hemp Program

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

251 Causeway Street,

Suite 500,

Boston, MA 02114

Generally, most applications are responded to within 3 - 4 weeks of the submission by the applicants. Successful applicants will pay a fee of $300 to receive their hemp producer licenses. Hemp licenses expire on the 31st of December of the year of issuance and must be renewed for license holders to retain their statutory rights. Renewal of hemp producer licenses must be initiated between October 1 and December 1.

The deadline for hemp producer license applications was April 30, 2021, and license applications for the year 2021 have closed. Sign up to the MDAR mailing list to be notified when licensing applications for 2022 become available.

PROCESSOR: A processor is a person or entity that processes industrial hemp into marketable products. A processor can be either a manufacturer, an extractor, or both. A manufacturer produces end-products from hemp, packages, labels, and retails them to consumers. An extractor creates products, such as oils, fibers, and seeds, directly from industrial hemp plants. Information on the requirements, considerations, and risks of the program are available in the Massachusetts Hemp Processor Policy. The policy was revised in October 2021 to enable hemp processors to sell products and extracts to marijuana dispensaries in the state. Applicants for hemp processor licenses must complete and submit their applications to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). Information to be provided by the applicants must include:

  • Legal name and current address of the applicant
  • Name and address of processor operation
  • Property Owner Consent, if the property is owned by a third party
  • GPS coordinates taken at the processing facility entrance
  • A map of the hemp processing area depicting clear boundaries.
  • Written consent for the MDAR to conduct inspections, samplings, and testings in accordance with the hemp laws.
  • Any other information considered reasonably by the MDAR

A $100 application fee, as a check or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, must also be included in the application. Mail the complete application and fees to:

ATTN: Industrial Hemp Program

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

251 Causeway Street,

Suite 500,

Boston, MA 02114

The MDAR typically responds to applications within 3 - 4 weeks. Successful applicants are required to pay a fee of $300 to receive their licenses from the MDAR. Hemp processor licenses are valid until December 31 of the year of issuance, and holders must process their license renewals between October 1 and December 1.

The deadline for hemp processor license applications was April 30, 2021, and license applications have closed for the year. Sign up to the MDAR mailing list to be notified when applications for hemp processor licenses for 2022 become available.

DUAL PRODUCER/PROCESSOR: A dual license enables the holder to function as both a hemp producer and a hemp processor. This allows the license holder to cultivate and grow industrial hemp, as well as, process it into other products for sale. Any person that wishes to grow and process hemp is required to submit a completed application form for a dual Producer/Processor license and the application fee. Applicants for dual licenses are required to adhere to the provisions of both the Massachusetts Hemp Program Policy for Producers and the Massachusetts Hemp Processor Policy. Applications must include the following details:

  • Applicant's name and current address
  • Name and address of grow operation
  • Property Owner Consent, if the property is owned by a third party
  • If the grow area is outdoors, the area (in acres) of the field; if the grow area is indoors, the approximate dimensions in square feet of the growing area.
  • GPS coordinates and a map of the growing area and the processing facility. The maps should depict clear boundaries in both areas.
  • Written consent for the MDAR to conduct inspections, samplings, and testings in accordance with the hemp laws.
  • Any other information considered reasonable by the MDAR

Dual license applicants are to include criminal history reports on individual applicants or key participants in the operation with their applications. Completed applications, along with the application fees, should be mailed to:

ATTN: Industrial Hemp Program

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

251 Causeway Street,

Boston, MA 02114

There is a $100 application fee to be submitted with dual license applications, and successful applicants must pay a $500 fee to receive their licenses. Licenses are valid until the 31st of December of the year they were issued, and renewal applications must be processed between October 1 and December 1.

The deadline for dual license applications was April 30, and license applications have closed for 2021. Sign up to the MDAR mailing list to receive notifications when applications for hemp dual licenses for 2022 become available.

Where to Buy CBD in Massachusetts?

Products derived from hemp such as CBD are available over the counter from dispensaries, health stores, pharmacies, and such in Massachusetts. CBD is also available for purchase from online stores and retail outlets. Revisions of the Hemp Processor Policy have enabled hemp processors to readily provide CBD to dispensaries across the state. Adult-use marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, so marijuana-derived CBD is widely available in the state. Ensure to obtain the certificate of analysis from retailers when purchasing CBD to distinguish between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD.

Massachusetts CBD